IME West 2022 speakers to address supply chain, workforce gaps

April 11, 2022
Experts from Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing Institute, CESMII, MxD, America Makes, DeviceAlliance, and Sonedo to share their insights

IME West, the advanced design and manufacturing event that brings together trade event and conference brands MD&M WestWestPackATX WestD&M WestPlastec West, the Design. Engineer. Build. Conference, and the Cannabis Packaging Conference, is gearing up for a robust in-person return to the Anaheim Convention Center this week (April 12-14) to connect advanced design and manufacturing communities across multiple verticals for three days of networking, education, meetings, and new product discovery.

Keynote speakers, a new program for the 2022 edition, are confirmed to headline the first and second day of the event, featuring an expert-led presentation and a panel discussion led by senior executives from Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing (ARM) Institute, DeviceAlliance, CESMII, MESA International, MxD, America Makes, and Sonedo.

"Education and peer-to-peer connection are paramount right now, especially given the acute nature of the manufacturing industry's challenges," said Adrienne Zepeda, group event director, IME West. “The first issue that impacts our community daily, which we would be remiss not to explore, is supply chain disruption. The pandemic has drastically impacted how we conduct business and is setting the stage for a new era for the manufacturing industry. Secondly, issues surrounding workforce vacancies resulting from generational trends are sparking innovation and wider investment in automation. With so much progress on the horizon, education and forward-looking insight are more important than ever. We are so excited to open day one and day two with timely keynote addresses to initiate much-needed conversation and open the door to long-term solutions."  

Jeff Brown, VP of Operations at Sonedo and keynote panelist, added: "Our current supply chain crisis will be fixed in the short term by the demand side, not the supply side of the supply chain. The supply side will provide the short- and long-term solutions that will help the industry better weather these storms in the future, but we need to rally as an industry to do so. I'm eager to reconnect with my fellow panelists at IME West and discuss the challenge on everyone's mind: supply chain disruption."

On Tuesday morning, Jay Douglass, COO, ARM, will present "Using Technology to Fill Manufacturing Workforce Gaps." As evidenced by the pandemic, manufacturing is critical to the economy of the United States and the well-being of its citizens. But U.S manufacturers are struggling to fill hundreds of thousands of open positions, some of which are working directly with robots. The ARM Institute, a non-profit consortium that catalyzes innovations in robotic technology and workforce development to strengthen U.S. manufacturing, has been working to advance the state of robotics to meet this workforce gap and provide educational opportunities to train or upskill factory employees. Douglass will share highlights of these projects' impact and how manufacturers are using technology and innovative training programs to meet today’s challenges.

Wednesday morning will feature a panel discussion entitled, "Can manufacturers rebuild the broken global supply chain?" Panelists include: Conrad Leiva, smart manufacturing WG chairman, MESA International and the VP ecosystem and workforce education, CESMII; Berardino Baratta, VP, project and engineering, MXD; Kimberly Gibson, ecosystem director, America Makes; and Jeff Brown, VP of operations, Sonedo. 

The severe supply chain shocks have created material scarcity and increased lead time pressures for downstream suppliers. Raw material providers in plastics and metals, microchips, and electronics are at a particular disadvantage. These supply chain challenges have renewed calls for the global manufacturing sector to rebuild and re-shore capacity, invest in new technologies, and confront an existential labor shortage.  The panel will discuss how they are approaching supply chain challenges and how their organizations view their role in the global manufacturing economy. They’ll also talk about initiatives taken by leading companies, NGOs, and governments worldwide—and what it means for your company. Topics include:

  • Approaches to global risk management and resiliency with a focus on governmental policies and their impact on internal financial and manufacturing quality controls
  • How data and automation technologies such as AI/ML, predictive maintenance, robotics, virtualization, and generative design can provide solutions
  • Balancing talent, technology, and culture for a winning team and a profitable process
  • The nuances of reshoring and nearshoring your assets and potential impacts to your bottom line

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